Playstation Plus Thoughts

The newly announced and launched Playstation Plus service is an interesting idea. While similar in price to Xbox Live, it doesn’t actually compare in terms of features. While Xbox Live Gold allows you to play online and allows you access to some entertainment features on top of that, it doesn’t give you free content.

Playstation Plus is a kind of Playstation loyalty scheme in which players pay up-front for a subscription for either 3 months or a year for £40 or similar to that in other currencies. I wasn’t really sure at first if it would be worth-it for me to join because of the fact that I already own quite a few PSN games, and I have been very critical of the minis program in the past and still am.

What ended up happening though was that my brother bought a subscription for a year to plus. One of the main reasons for this was because of the special offer for people who join in the first month, which is a downloadable copy of LittleBigPlanet. LBP is one of my favourite games on PS3 and of course I already own a copy. We should now be able to trade in our disc version for credit at the store and make back some of the £40 joining fee. Hopefully the rest of that fee will be made back over the next 12 months.

I’m not sure if the LBP downloadable version is tied to the same expiration date as other Plus content, but when I went into the information page on the game it said that there was no time limit, while other games I downloaded did say they would expire in a year with the subscription if it wasn’t renewed. Even if LBP does expire in a year, I think because LBP2 is coming out a long way before then, and it is fully compatible with all old downloadable levels and DLC, unless you want to play the story levels again, there’s not much need to hang on to LBP.

For people who don’t already own LBP or WipEout HD, the £40 fee is worth paying just for the first month’s content. If you’re like me and you do already have both games, it should be worth the cost to you quite comfortably over the year. It just depends how much you are willing to take a chance that the content will be what you want to play.

If they go forward and add further features such as cross-game voice chat and possibly things like online game save backup then it will be worth the price for even more people and will probably go on to be very successful for Sony. So far it looks like it has a good starting position and can only get better from here.


The Week of Low-Key Gaming Announcements

This week has seen by my count 4 big titles confirmed in a low-key way. First there was Pikmin 3. Miyamoto told the press that the game was well into development. Killzone 3 was confirmed as being in production at Guerrilla Games by Jack Tretton and now today two more big announcements have been made by way of press release or online interview.

The first was the 3DS, the supposed successor to the DS family of handhelds which will apparently hit stores in Japan around this time next year. I’ll have more on that soon. There’s too much to go into here.

The second was the confirmation of LittleBigPlanet 2 by Sony, who recently wisely bought Media Molecule. All of these are obvious sequels. Perhaps the companies behind them felt they were so obvious that it wouldn’t be worth trying to hide them back until a big game show like E3 because by then the secrets will probably have been exposed anyway.

Regardless of how they got announced, I’m excited for at least 3 of these 4 offerings, and that’s not to say KZ3 will be bad, I’ just can’t see myself playing it.


LBP PSP Review

I recently gave my first impressions of LBP PSP a week or so ago. I haven’t updated recently because I was waiting for the issue where my PSP would crash when attempting to go online in the game was fixed. Luckily, in the end they released a patch which you download by using triangle on the UMD icon and clicking update.

Now that I can go online, I can tell you that this is one of the best PSP games yet made and you should definitely own it. As a big fan of the PS3 game that Media Molecule made last year which was amazing, this one surprisingly doesn’t feel diluted to a point where it spoils the experience. With a game like this, you have to accept that to fit the game on a PSP you have to cut some corners, it’s inevitable. With that said, there are some corners cut. Most notably multiplayer of any kind. This is disappointing because I’m sure my brother would have bought the game if it did have ad-hoc play.

If you asked the question, which would you rather have? Online community level sharing or ad-hoc multiplayer, I think about 90% of people would take the former, because not only does it extend the life of the game endlessly but because most people play their PSPs alone anyway, it would seem like a far better idea to have a constant stream of user created levels.

The graphics and game play both feel like the PS3 game which I’m sure was no easy feat for Studio Cambridge to achieve. I think this game is surely going to put them on the map as a high level PSP developer and it is very well deserved. I’m interested to see what they do in the future.

While we wait though, go and grab yourself a copy of this game. Oh and before I forget, I paid £20 at GAME for the UMD, well technically I got it free with my saved up reward points. The PSN downloadable version is £21.99 I think, so £2 extra which is weak really, but it may be worth it for you, especially if you have a PSP go and have no other option. I think it’s worth taking. What you might want to do though is buy a PSN card from GAME first. That way you get reward points on the card before you redeem it and buy the game.


LBP PSP Early Thoughts

I will probably do a full review on 3DGalaxy, but in the meantime, I’ve played a little bit of the game and I can say the following.

It’s definitely a true representation of LBP. It looks and feels just like the PS3 game which is really impressive on the PSP. It’s clear that this game is only possible on PSP, something Sony like to mention quite a lot for their games.

It’s clear though that even though the online level sharing looks impressive, in the end, the lack of multiplayer of any kind, in a similar way to rock band unplugged, will really hurt this game a lot in terms of its longevity.

Full review soon, not to mention reviews of new super mario brothers wii, F1 2009 and critter crunch.